NHS prescriptions: Britons could slash their medication bill by £28.39 each month

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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Many groups are able to get their medication for free, however are still millions of people left paying for each prescription charge. Currently, each prescription costs £9.35 per item in England.

Those who live in Scotland and Wales are able to claim free medication no matter what age they are, whereas people living in England can get free prescriptions if they are 60 years of age or older.

A Freedom of Information request sent out by MoneySavingExpert showed more than one million people in England missed out on a significant amount of money.

Households are losing an average savings of £40 in the 12 months to April 2021, because they did not purchase a prepayment certificate.

If someone knows they’ll have to pay for a lot of NHS prescriptions, it may be cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) – effectively a prescription “season ticket”.

A PPC can cover all of someone’s NHS prescriptions, including NHS dental prescriptions, no matter how many items you need.

There are two PPC options that people can choose from.

The three-month PPC costs £30.25 and will save someone money if they need more than three prescribed items in three months.

The 12-month PPC costs £108.10 and will save someone money if they need more than 11 prescribed items in a year.

Britons should check if they’re entitled to free prescriptions before they apply. They can check on the NHS website.

Their website states the quicker way to buy a PPC is online.

The PPC will start from the day someone submits their application, unless they request a different start date, but the start date must be within one month before or after the date of their application.

Britons can also call the PPC order line on 0300 330 1341.
Their certificate will be valid from the day they make the phone call, unless they request otherwise.

People can receive their certificate details by email if they provide an email address, print them at the end of their online application, or receive the details by post.

If someone has to pay for prescriptions while they’re waiting for details about a new PPC and need to apply for a refund, they should ask the pharmacist for an NHS receipt (FP57) so they can claim back the cost.

Their PPC must cover the date they paid the prescription charge.

It’s possible to claim for the refund of prescription charges up to three months after paying.

Alice Haine, a personal finance analyst at Bestinvest, shared how much those paying for expensive medications can save if they purchase a PPC.

Ms Haines explained: “If you take regular medications and therefore have a lot of NHS prescriptions to pay for – with each prescription costing £9.35 per item – it can be cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate.

“While a three-month PPC costs £30.25 and will save you money if you need more than three prescribed items during that period, the 12-month option costs £108.10 and saves you money if you need more than 11 prescribed items a year.

“To break down the savings further: two items a month will save a 12-month PPC holder £116.30 a month, with three items per month leading to a saving of £228.50 and four items per month £340.70 – that’s the equivalent of £28.39.”

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